By Lisa Carolin
Back in 2012, Lisa Allmendinger decided to start Chelsea Update. It was a tribute to a most revered and idyllic small city, a way to connect the residents with the vibrant activity that makes Chelsea Chelsea.
Allmendinger had spent 40 years working in journalism, and this was her dream job – to be the publisher of a news service about her favorite place and to give back to the community.
Nine years later, Chelsea Update has proved sustainable and reliable. But things have changed. The news and feature service that prided itself on presenting a positive view of Chelsea has come under attack in the last few years.
Fueled in part by the polarized politics in the national news, fueled by the isolation and fear brought on by the pandemic, and fueled by a mix of good intentions and divisiveness brought on by national racist events that trickled down into the community, the messenger (Chelsea Update) has become the target of people’s wrath and frustration.
Chelsea Update is one person and a few freelancers doing their best to objectively cover what’s going on in and around Chelsea. In addition to the positive feedback and gratitude we are thankful to receive, Chelsea Update has increasingly been blamed for everything from incorrect content in some stories to a lack of objectivity.
That’s not the climate those of us who write for Chelsea Update ever wanted or expected, and in an occupation that demands time and understanding and offers minimal financial return, it leaves us feeling disappointed and wronged. And quite frankly, extremely unappreciated.
Rather than closing our doors despite nearly a decade of just seeking sustainability, we have decided to continue with our goal of making Chelsea Update the local, positive, informative news and feature source that we have always strived to be.
This publication was the only local news source that not only continuously published throughout the COVID shutdowns but also expanded coverage to include the surrounding townships in an effort to provide an accurate source of news for the Chelsea Community.
The last two years have been tough ones for everyone and Chelsea Update is no exception. Thankfully, Chelsea’s business owners continued to support our efforts with advertising, but the majority of its readers have not followed suit with donations. These two revenue sources account for Chelsea Update’s financial sustainability and how Allmendinger makes a living and pays her freelancers.
She’s been forced to make some hard decisions. We will no longer be covering meetings outside the City of Chelsea in the surrounding townships, and instead will do our best to provide readers with meeting agendas. And minutes from meetings that we receive as well.
Chelsea Update will continue to cover the City of Chelsea, Chelsea School District, Chelsea businesses, local nonprofits, as well as all of the features we have always covered, and we still very much welcome your story ideas.
What Chelsea Update will endeavor to continue to refrain from doing is to get mired in the partisan, polarized effects of the aforementioned events that continue to threaten the essence of what makes the Chelsea community so very special.